Friday, April 30, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty," - Bill Maher.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

It ain't easy

So Arizona legally turns Latinos into second class citizens with their new immigration law, Oklahoma and Nebraska turn women into second class citizens with various bugfuck insane anti-abortion laws... I resist knee-jerk anti-Americanism, but they aren't making it easy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Pro-Lie Movement

What can you say about a movement that promotes and passes a law banning any legal penalty for doctors who lie to pregnant women about the health of their fetus? Because see, if a doctor honestly tells a woman that her fetus has serious birth defects, who knows, she might make the personal and legal decision to not bring that fetus to term.

What can you say about a movement that indignantly opposes laws that compel organizations that pose as women's health clinics to honestly disclose that they will never under any circumstances, provide information or referrals for contraception or abortion? They are deeply offended that these 'clinics' will not be allowed to string vulnerable women along with promises of 'just one more test' before they get the referral they came for until, oops, it's too late.

What can you say about a movement that fiercely condemns any attempt to link them with the terrorists and assassins who flock to their banner, but run websites with all the information about doctors and clinic staff needed to track them down and murder them while repeatedly using terms like 'baby-killer', 'holocaust' and 'mass murder' with predictable results?

The truth will set you free, but when the truth is that there are safe and legal medical procedures that allow women to control their own bodies and reproductive choices then the truth just gets in the way.

Immigration as an issue will destroy the Republican Party

The draconian new law in Arizona has turned the Arizona Latino community, previously the most Republican leaning in the country into instant Democrats virtually overnight.

Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 01:30:04 PM PDT
The California GOP's embrace of the hateful Prop 187, which would've banned undocumented immigrants from all government services, including public education, continues to cost their party 16 years later. Since the initiative passed in 1994, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the only Republican, under bizarre conditions (the recall election), to win a governor, senator, or presidential race in the state. Democrats have dominated the rest of the statewide elected offices, with just a smattering of Republicans occasionally picking up the odd seat.

Now, California Latinos are a solid Democratic bloc, even though on social issues, they oftentimes line up more naturally with Republicans. In the Golden State, Barack Obama won 74 percent of the Latino vote, compared to just 23 percent for McCain.

In Arizona, Obama won 56 percent of Latinos, with McCain getting 41 percent. Of course, McCain was a native son, so perhaps that boosted his numbers? Nope. In the 2006 Senate race, wingnut Sen. Jon Kyl got the same41 percent of the Latino vote.

Now look at PPP's latest polling of the 2010 Arizona governor's race:

There has been a great deal of movement along racial lines. In the September poll Goddard had a 3 point lead with white voters, but he now trails Brewer by 8. At the same time he's increased his lead with Hispanic voters from 20 points to 46. There are a lot more white voters in the state than Hispanic ones so from a cynical, purely political perspective Brewer's actions last week probably did her some good.
A 20-point lead among brown voters is essentially the same 60-40 Democratic
Senior Republicans who still live in the reality based community understand this is a disaster but are utterly captive to their extremist nativist base - who are calling for immigrants to be surgically implanted with tracking chips like dogs.

Napolitano: She's gonna bankrupt the Republican Party and the state of Arizona. Look at what happened to the Republicans in California with the proposition --

Cavuto: What happens?

Napolitano: Ah, Hispanics -- who have a natural home in the Republican Party because they are socially conservative -- will flee in droves. She's also gonna bankrupt her state, because no insurance company will provide coverage for this. And for all the lawsuits that will happen -- for all the people that are wrongfully stopped -- her budget will be paying for it. Her budget will be paying the legal bills of the lawyers who sue on behalf of those that were stopped.

This will be a disaster for Arizona -- to say nothing of the fact that it's so unconstitutional that I predict a federal judge will prevent Arizona from enforcing it as soon as they attempt to do so. That will probably be tomorrow.
Up until recently, the Democrats were heading for a bruising midterm election - possibly even losing the House. As the effects of this new law begin to sink in with Latinos, non-whites in general and political independents expect those poll numbers to change dramatically - there were already indications that the all important independents, while irked with all incumbents, were losing patience with Republican obstructionism.

The crazy head GOP base may be fired up, but the fire is incinerating any Republican support outside of the base.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Born Free

M.I.A.'s controversial new video, directed by Romain Garvas is bleak and uncompromising. It has the same basic plot as South Park's Ginger hate episode, just taken completely literally. Stir in Arizona's new immigration law and insurgency warfare's ugliness brought home and you have a provocative and heady brew.

NSFW. Extremely NSFW.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

My pop culture blog Bourbon and Bongwater got linked to by one of the big comics news sites this morning for my photos from Calgary's big comic convention this weekend. Note to self, running photos of attractive young ladies in chain-mail bikinis will increase readership.

A lot.

Oddly enough.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chat-room Serial Killer

This guy almost makes me reconsider my opposition to the death penalty.

The St. Paul , Minn., police department announced Friday that they had charged William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, with two counts of aiding suicide.

Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year-old from Brampton, Ont., killed herself in 2008.

Meanwhile, Mark Drybrough of the United Kingdom, killed himself nearly five years ago.

The charges came after a two-year investigation in which police reviewed transcripts of chatroom conversations the accused allegedly had with the victims, encouraging them to take their own lives.

Kajouji went missing in early March, 2008 while attending university in Ottawa. It was later learned that she had jumped off a bridge into the Rideau River. Her body was found six weeks later.

As police investigated her disappearance, they found she had been on suicide chat sites and had befriended someone named "Cami," a 20-something female also contemplating suicide.

In court filings, St. Paul police allege that Melchert-Dinkel impersonated "Cami" and entered a suicide pact with Kajouji. They discussed several suicide methods, with "Cami" urging Kajouji to go first and to kill herself by hanging herself in front of a webcam.

Father Mohamed Kajouji told CTV News that his daughter had been upset about her falling grades, had been seeing a counsellor and was taking anti-depressants.

He said that according to Internet chat transcripts obtained by police, his daughter was coached to end her own life.

"Every time she tried to come up with a way out, (the suspect) always insisted that there was no way out," the elder Kajouji said.

He referred to other chilling sections of the transcript, in which the suspect directly encourages suicide.

"He is basically telling her, ‘Your life is up, so you might as well do it now and I'll help you do it. I'll show you which store to get the rope, how to set up the Web camera, and everything else.'"

In the case of the British man, Mark Drybrough, police allege Melchert-Dinkel also encouraged the 32-year-old, who suffered from depression, to hang himself at his home in June, 2005.

According to police affidavits, Melchert-Dinkel admitted he had encouraged and created suicide pacts for four or five years.

This is what a real vampire looks like kids, you'll note he doesn't 'sparkle'.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This is what you want, this is what you get

Another brilliant Johann Hari column, on the British election this time and the paradigm blasting game changer that was the Lib Dem rise this week.
But something stranger still is happening in The Election That Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Every day in this country, two big forces artificially drag the British government way to the right of the British people, making it enact policies that benefit a small, rich elite at the expense of the rest. We are not supposed to notice this, never mind try to change it. Yet suddenly, in this election, those forces have been exposed.

To understand what these forces are, you have to start with a fact that is usually kept obscure: Britain is a country with a large liberal-left majority. Eighty-five per cent of us say the gap between rich and poor should be "much smaller", and a majority would get there by introducing a maximum wage that caps the incomes of the rich at £135,000 a year. Fifty-eight per cent support a dramatic incr in the minimum wage. Fifty-eight per cent want to ditch Trident - an act of unilateral nuclear disarmament. Seventy-seven per cent want to bring the troops home from Afghanistan now, or within a year at the latest. Fifty-three per cent say people come out of prison worse than they go in, and would rather spend money on more youth clubs than on more prison places.

Across most policies, our views are to the left of all three parties. (These statistics are all from Mori, Ipsos or YouGov polls.) And Brits hold these views even though they are constantly told by the media that they are marginal, impossible, or mad.

Ah, you may say, but that's just what people tell pollsters. They vote for the polar opposite: look at Thatcher's victories. But look again. At every election where Margaret Thatcher stood, 56 per cent of the British people voted against her, for parties committed to higher taxes, higher public spending, and lower inequality. The media declared this to be a "landslide" endorsement of her programme of deregulation that continued for decades, and has now crashed the global economy.
If this seems familiar it should, except in Canada the problem is even more pronounced; six out of ten of us consistently vote center-left to socialist, but between first past the post and the long rightward drift of the Liberal Party, the real priorities and views of Canadians have been treated with utter contempt by our elected representatives for decades.

In a parliamentary system like Britain or our own, a game changing political earthquake that sweeps an outsider to power can actually be followed by real and fundamental reform. Our system has less of the built in institutional impediments to change that the American one does, get enough seats to govern, alone or with the support or just the acquiescence of other parties and you can change the country fundamentally in just a few years.

Stephen Harper has proven that, the one useful lesson he has for Progressives if we are willing to learn it.

I'm hoping for a Labour/Lib Dem coalition in Britain, not least because it would utterly demolish a lot of the mythology and misinformation around Canada's last flirtation with coalition government and create a precedent for cautious Canadian voters to consider before the next one.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

'The Laughing Heart'

Tom Waits reads Charles Bukowski.

What they didn't want you to see

Hundreds of pages of government documents and emails about the banning of George Galloway that the government accidentally released and then tried to seize back and censor have now been released by Rabble. You can find them here.

Among other things they show that when Jason Kenney said his office was not involved in the banning of Galloway it was in fact intimately involved. Including a possible serious breach of privacy law as the British press found out about Galloway's banning before he did.

These are serious allegations of extremely illegal behavior by agents of the government, illuminated by an accidental application of the kind of freedom of information this government has steadfastly tried avoid at any cost. Seeing the evidence they tried to suppress in this case gives a hint of the cynicism and disregard for legal norms that lurk behind massive redaction on the documents they release willingly.

Rabble invites readers to crowd source the document dump here. I know what I'm doing tonight.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Better to celebrate a friendly leafy plant than the birthday of a flatulent failed wallpaper hanger with one testicle and a bad attitude.

It's Canada in 2010 and an inter-racial couple have been driven out of their home

An inter-racial couple nearly driven from their Nova Scotia community when a cross was burned on their lawn is sick of living in fear and looking to leave after their car was found in flames on the weekend.

“This is strike two, we’re not waiting for strike three,” Michelle Lyon said Monday in a telephone interview from her home near Windsor. “When those two were arrested, we thought that was it. But now this.”

Ms. Lyon spoke shortly after returning from court, where one of the men charged in the cross-burning entered a plea of not guilty.


Ms. Lyon, who is white, and her fiancé, Shayne Howe, the only black man in tiny Poplar Grove, say they were awakened in February by shouts of “die nigger die.” They say a noose was dangling from a flaming cross on their lawn, but whoever did it was gone by the time Mr. Howe could get outside.

The incident shocked many in the province, as did the reaction of some prominent members of the black community who said they were not surprised at such overt hostility. One academic called it tangible evidence of the attitudes that cause some black people to call the province “the Mississippi of the North.”

This is just so sad and shameful it makes me feel sick.

We Canadians can be kind of smug about how we are so socially advanced over our neighbors to the south. A reminder that idiot tribalism can boil to the surface anywhere is something we should learn from.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Think your favorite song is startlingly original?

It really isn't.

Trust me, it really, really isn't.

Volcano Smoke and Global Warming

Just to preempt the inevitable denier rants about how volcanoes are naturally pumping out greenhouse gasses so industry shouldn't have to do anything to reduce their emissions, here's a useful chart from Andrew Sullivan: In other words even with a huge Icelandic volcano pumping out smoke, ash and CO2 - greenhouse gasses have actually been reduced in the last week because of grounded flights.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Linkblast - April 18

Friday, April 16, 2010

Goldman Sachs Charged with Fraud

Now all that's left is to drive a stake through their black heart, chop off their head, stuff their mouth with garlic and bury them at a crossroads.

Securities fraud charges against Goldman Sachs are just the beginning as federal regulators and investigators comb through the wreckage of a fraud-induced recession, caused by a pervasive and systemic culture of deceit at Wall Street's biggest firms, say Wall Street analysts.

The firm, infamously dubbed the "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity," was charged Friday by the Securities and Exchange Commission with fraud for selling securities to investors that were handpicked -- and destined -- to fail, without disclosing that to investors. The immediate losers were pension funds, foreign firms and private investors, who lost more than $1 billion on this single security

Thursday, April 15, 2010

J K Rowling on the British Conservatives contempt for single mothers

Spotted at BoingBoing
I had become a single mother when my first marriage split up in 1993. In one devastating stroke, I became a hate figure to a certain section of the press, and a bogeyman to the Tory Government. Peter Lilley, then Secretary of State at the DSS, had recently entertained the Conservative Party conference with a spoof Gilbert and Sullivan number, in which he decried “young ladies who get pregnant just to jump the housing list”. The Secretary of State for Wales, John Redwood, castigated single-parent families from St Mellons, Cardiff, as “one of the biggest social problems of our day”. (John Redwood has since divorced the mother of his children.) Women like me (for it is a curious fact that lone male parents are generally portrayed as heroes, whereas women left holding the baby are vilified) were, according to popular myth, a prime cause of social breakdown, and in it for all we could get: free money, state-funded accommodation, an easy life.
An easy life. Between 1993 and 1997 I did the job of two parents, qualified and then worked as a secondary school teacher, wrote one and a half novels and did the planning for a further five. For a while, I was clinically depressed. To be told, over and over again, that I was feckless, lazy — even immoral — did not help.


Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150”, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

Wow does this ever sound familiar...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saskatchewan Party/ Tory - Same Old Story (and same bank account?)

From Buckdog we learn the fascinating news today that Saskatchewan Party representatives have been funneling away funds from the quasi-defunct Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party to the Saskatchewan Party.

And its a good thing that 'dog is on the case considering the near total blackout this amazing story appears to be under both inside and out of Saskatchewan.

All sorts of questions are raised by this:

The Saskatchewan Party was formed to create a right wing alternative in Saskatchewan since the Progressive Conservative brand was and remains fatally tainted in Saskatchewan by the association with possibly the most corrupt provincial government in Canadian history. The leaders of the Saskatchewan Party movement and government have always strenuously denied they are just a continuation of the Saskatchewan PCs with the serial numbers filed off - in which case, why should they inherit the PCs war chest?

If, as the diehard Tories of Saskatchewan claim, the trustees with a foot in both parties are not legitimate administrators of the Progressive Conservative legacy or warchest - how can this possibly be legal?

Why are you only hearing about this now from a blogger? Why the near total blackout in the media?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Going Default

In the face of malfeasance and predation on a global scale, Matt Taibbi is interested in the modest proposal by Max 'Goldman and Sachs are scum' Kaiser of declaring certain debts marked by criminality on a gigantic scale simply invalid and unenforceable and walking away from them.
Often also called an activist, Mr. Keiser created quite a stir a few days ago when, on an Al Jazeera program, he claimed that Greece, for the past decade, has fallen victim to the “economic terrorists” of the Wall Street banking systems and the IMF. In the interview which followed, he claimed “if the Greeks want to be protected from the IMF, then they should nationalize their banks thus establishing government owned institutions so as to revive the banking system”, while at the same time “ceasing to pay back the loans which were issued illegally” via “cooking the books” of the Greek economy by Goldman Sachs. He proposed the expulsion from the country of American banks as well as the IMF. The consequence will be “two or three years of heavy recession”, during which time Greece will be able “to rebuild its economy”, ensuring its economic independence.
Presumably this would also apply to Iceland, considering the murky roll international hedge funds had in profiting from the economic warfare against Iceland's banks they are accused of. True, Icelandic bankers greedily and credulously followed the high finance pirate barons down the garden path but that doesn't stop the average Icelander on the street from asking, "What's that got to do with me and why the hell should I be the one to pay for it?"

Why should a starving Haitian fisherman who's country has been looted by other government's and his own, by dictators supported by the west and trade regimes designed to profit American rice farming corporations while destroying local agriculture - Even Bill Clinton came to regret that - why should the average Haitian who has never had any control over any of these forces be paying in reduced services from his state and perpetual national impoverishment for these debts?

Debt has been wielded against Haiti like a club since the very beginning when they were forced to agree to pay the debt for theft of property from Imperial France. The stolen property in question including the human livestock France lost when the Haitians rebelled and ended slavery.

That debt wasn't fully paid off until 1947. Haiti labored under a crushing debt, the blood price for their own flesh and blood and freedom for decades. Then pompous tiny dick little shits like David Brooks claim the reason they've never quite managed to pull themselves out of poverty is because they don't have that strong Anglo-Saxon Protestant work ethic.

Iceland's citizens should see their government services slashed and the standard of living plummet because of the actions of a few in the banking class, Greeks should do the same and the rest of us all over the world should brace ourselves for austerity and belt tightening and ever more tax cuts for the rich paid for by abandoning the poor.

Because the banks have to be paid.

Or not?

Sunday Linkblast - April 11

Friday, April 09, 2010

Full of Win

This picture is 'Teh kickass!'
This is of course very, very wrong despite being f%$&ing awesome!

Britain's election and the REAL class war

All of Johann Hari's excellent piece on Cameron's class war attacks apply just as well in Canada. It's time for the left in Canada to stop running from the accusation of class war and start actually fighting it.
Here are the facts. He will give a £1.2bn inheritance tax cut to the richest 2 per cent in Britain -- with most going to the 3,000 wealthiest estates (including his wife's). Then he promises to end the 50p top rate of tax, giving another £2.4bn to the richest 1 per cent. Then he has pledged to cut taxes on the pensions of the richest, handing another £3.2bn to the same 1 per cent. Then his marriage tax relief policies will give 13 times more to the rich than the poor. To pay for this, he will slash programs for the middle and the broke, like the Child Trust Fund, SureStart (our equivalent of HeadStar) and state schools.
Labour must not be intimidated into silence on this issue. On this, it is closer to public opinion than Cameron or his media cheerleaders. Poll after poll finds 75 per cent believe Britain is too unequal, and virtually nobody believes tax cuts should not be targeted at the rich. Indeed, public opinion is substantially to the left of Labour, choosing more progressive policies almost across the board -- revealing yet again that New Labour's tragedy has been its conservatism and capitulation to the right. Despite all the disinformation, the British people are whiffing the truth: a Populous poll found that 50 per cent think Cameron is on the side of the rich, compared to only 42 per cent who thought he was on the side of ordinary people.
Yet Brown keeps lapsing into a feeble technocratic line of attack instead, complaining "the Tories' sums don't add up". This will fail and fail badly. People are so disgusted by politicians they assume all their plans are lies anyway -- so finding a supposed "£6bn black hole" leaves everybody cold. He needs to appeal to people's visceral instincts instead.
The truth is plain, and it is provable. David Cameron's policies will take money from the hard-working majority of Brits, and hand it to his friends and relatives on landed estates and in tax havens. He is not on your side; he is on the side of a tiny clique who have every luxury in life and now bray for even more. Cameron bragged to his supporters last month: "Nothing and no one can stop us." It's up to the majority who will lose out if he become Prime Minister to say -- oh yeah?


"One redeeming factor is that it would appear that the victims involved are of Polish descent and their respect for the priesthood and the Church has made them refrain from making these allegations public or laying a criminal charge against a priest. Had this happened elsewhere there would be every danger that charges would have been laid long ago with all the resultant scandal." - Bishop Joseph Windle of Pembroke, Ontario

The cynicism on display here is blunt and ugly; 'fortunately he picked children from a priest-ridden community and the parents know their place and understand the reputation of priests and church is more important then their children's pain and terror.'

There is no recognition that the abuser probably made the same calculation when he chose his victims that the hierarchy is making when they congratulate themselves on being able to keep his crimes hidden.

The Church's primary defense has been that this kind of abuse is widespread in this sinful modern world and focusing on that by priests is unfair, but of course the issue isn't the abuse, it's the institutional response to that abuse. Other organizations facing similar scandals have responded with alacrity, fired people, informed the police and expressed remorse quickly and without attempts at minimization or attacking the victim.

The Catholic Church's response has been marked by evasiveness, entitlement, resentment, arrogance and a disturbing tendency to view the rape of children as a minor moral peccadillo - certainly not important enough to risk their standing.

This is a church hierarchy that has piteously decried the modern world's increasing secularization and the creeping erosion of their power and influence - but it is those very changes that have finally allowed their drifting, dwindling followers to challenge an institutional culture that seems to view them as property. In the past the Church has manifestly depended on their unchallenged authority over their flock to keep horrific crimes hidden and unchallenged.

As their followers become less priest ridden and reflexively deferential, it becomes harder to sweep scandal under the rug.

UPDATE from Andrew Sullivan:

Celibacy is part of the problem, but deeper still is the authoritarianism.
It means no accountability for enormous power. That guarantees, in this fallen world, abuse of power. It is this abuse which is integral to the systematic nature of the sex abuse. Which is why Benedict's assertion of even more rigid Papal and centralized authority compounds rather than addresses the core problem.
So, no, K-Lo, greater fidelity to that authority and whatever it says and does is not the solution. It helped create this problem. And this problem means the rape and abuse of thousands of defenseless souls and bodies. The church can either grasp this nettle and restore the spirit and openness of the Second Vatican Council, or it can curl up in its authoritarian cocoon and die of a collapse in moral authority.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Vatican Abuse: Follow the Money

Andrew Sullivan, a pained and idiosyncratic but still religious Catholic, has been following the priest abuse scandal with the kind of serious reporting nobody else is doing. In his 'How long has this been going on?' series he demolishes the 'It's the iniquitous modern world's fault' argument the Vatican has been trying to push.

His readers have been writing in, new ones every day, detailing stories of abuse by priests over the decades and centuries. Rape and torture of children by priests has been gong on for centuries its only started getting reported in the last few years as the church loses its stranglehold of unquestioned authority over its flock.

Now he does a huge piece on the most unreported element of the story. The money, in the form of thick wads of unmarked bills in plain brown envelopes to cardinals, bishops and other Vatican authorities that blocked oversight and protected abusers.
Struggling to give context to the donations, this cleric continued: "You're saying these laypeople are good and fervent, it's good for them to meet the pope. The expression is opera carita -- 'We're making an offering for your works of charity.' That's the way it's done. In fact you don't know where the money's going." He paused. "It's an elegant way of giving a bribe." ...
When Martínez Somalo, a Spaniard, became head of the congregation overseeing religious in 1994, Maciel dispatched a priest to Martínez Somalo's home. The young priest carried an envelope thick with cash. "I didn't bat an eye," he recalled. "I went up to his apartment, handed him the envelope, said goodbye. ... It was a way of making friends, insuring certain help if it were needed, oiling the cogs."
Another critical figure who was the recipient of vast amounts of Legion money was Cardinal Sodano. Sodano was critical to fending off investigation of Maciel once formal charges were brought in 1998:
"Cardinal Sodano was the cheerleader for the Legion," said one of the ex-Legionaries. "He'd come give a talk at Christmas and they'd give him $10,000." Another priest recalled a $5,000 donation to Sodano.
Sodano was also the key Vatican figure who this Easter derided the latest stories of abuse as "petty gossip" and declared the church united in defending the Pope. He has refused to answer Berry's questions about the Legion's cash gifts to him over the years.
So this multiple rapist and bigamist essentially got away with his crimes because he bought silence from key Vatican officials, at the very least by ingratiating himself by donating huge amounts to the church and at the very most by directly bribing key officials with envelopes stuffed with cash.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Truth in Advertising

I started a new local Facebook group:
Calgary should pass a Crisis Pregnancy Centre disclosure law.

Here's the intro:

Baltimore Maryland has passed and Austin Texas is considering an ordinance requiring Crisis Pregnancy Centers to post signs clearly revealing to women coming through their doors that they will never provide information about, or make a referral for birth control or abortion.

Crisis Pregnancy centers have repeatedly been found to string along vulnerable women who come to them, with tests and 'counseling' until its too late for them to get the abortions they may have been looking for. They give every impression of being a comprehensive health resource center for women but are staffed by volunteer anti-abortion activists.

Not surprisingly they are fighting these ordinances and for the right to deceive their clients.

Calgary has one of these fundamentalist anti-abortion front groups right downtown at: 205, 925 – 7th Ave SW Calgary, AB T2P 1A5

I suggest that Calgary should follow Baltimore and Austin's lead and pass a disclosure law for these kind of operations.

Please drop by and visit and join if you'd like, Calgarian or otherwise. These groups are really easy to set up so think about creating one for your city.

Thanks to Fern at DammitJanet! for the nod.

Update: and thanks again to Fern for updating me that Austin has now passed their clinic disclosure law. Good on them! Calgary's turn now.

Vicious Bluster

The idea of the Palestinians unilaterally declaring independence and statehood terrifies extremists within Israel, as seen in the blustering response from Israeli Foreign Minister, unambiguous racist and advocate of ethnic cleansing Avigdor Lieberman:

JERUSALEM — Israel's hard-line foreign minister warned Palestinians on Tuesday against plans to unilaterally declare independence next year, saying such a move could prompt Israel to annex parts of the West Bank and annul past peace agreements.

The remarks by Avigdor Lieberman took aim at a Palestinian policy that has emerged as U.S. attempts to restart peace talks have stalled.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, whose Western-backed government has a limited governing role in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, has announced plans to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, possibly as early as the summer of 2011 – even without a peace deal.

Fayyad has begun ambitious reforms of the government and security forces, building up Palestinian institutions and developing the economy in preparation for independence. The reforms were welcomed by the West but have raised Israeli fears that a unilateral Palestinian statehood declaration could win international recognition.

Lieberman warned that if Palestinians declared independence, Israel could revoke the 1990s peace agreements known as the Oslo accords, or even annex parts of the West Bank.

"Any unilateral decision will release us from all of our commitments and will allow us also to make unilateral decisions," Lieberman was quoted as saying by the Ynet news Web site. "For example, imposing Israeli sovereignty on certain areas, cutting off all kinds of ties and transfers of money and a string of benefits and agreements put into place since the Oslo accords."

The kind of response, in other words, that would instantly push countries all over the world off of the fence. The inconvenient question of why Israelis can passionately declare their statehood but Palestinians are forbidden to do so would surge to the fore.

I agree with Johann Hari, the Palestinians should declare and let the chips fall where they way. The declaration and Israeli response to the declaration will create a moment of clarity about the stakes and the issues.

The same question every time this comes up, the same question nobody can offer a reasonable response to:
Why is it incumbent on Palestinians to recognize the state of Israel if it isn't incumbent on Israelis to recognize the state of Palestine?

Monday, April 05, 2010

Moderation in all things

VATICAN CITY—Calling the behavior shameful, sinful, and much more frequent than the Vatican was comfortable with, Pope Benedict XVI vowed this week to bring the widespread pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church down to a more manageable level.
Addressing thousands gathered at St. Peter's Square on Easter Sunday, the pontiff offered his "most humble apologies" to abuse victims, and pledged to reduce the total number of molestations by 60 percent over the next five years.
"This is absolutely unacceptable," Pope Benedict said. "It seems a weakening of faith in God has prevented our priests from exercising moderation when sexually abusing helpless minors."
"And let me remind our clergy of the holy vows they all took when they entered the priesthood," he continued. "They should know that they're only allowed one small child every other month."
Yes it's the Onion.

Alan Grayson is my hero

Alan Grayson defies the standard American liberal stereotype of huddling in a corner whimpering at conservative attacks - when attacked by Rush Limbaugh, he'd rather accuse him of being a drug addicted boy prostitute lover.

Limbaugh was still smarting from Alan Grayson (D-FL) pointing out at DownWithTyranny last January that ole Rush was more lucid when he was still taking hillbilly heroin than he's been lately. "Rush Limbaugh is a has-been hypocrite loser, who craves attention. His right-wing lunacy sounds like Mikhail Gorbachev, extolling the virtues of communism. Limbaugh actually was more lucid when he was a drug addict. If America ever did 1% of what he wanted us to do, then we'd all need pain killers." So it came as no surprise to anyone when Limbaugh launched into another childish tirade against Congressman Grayson, the member of Congress the extreme right fears most.
On his Hate Talk Radio show Friday Limbaugh started babbling that the congressman who represents Orlando, home of Disney World, is "loony tunes," mixing up his media conglomerates, and claiming that he's an order of fries short of a happy meal." Grayson, laughing, pointed out that the binge-eating and drug addled Limbaugh's life is "like a 5-alarm fire and all his money doesn't make it any better." Limbaugh huddles in his $27 million mansion, broadcasts from his basement and never ventures out unless it's to hunt for underage boy prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. He sends his servants out to score his drugs and bring back food. "He's one pizza short of exploding," chortled Grayson yesterday. "If there is anyone who knows about Happy Meals, it's Rush Limbaugh. He certainly has consumed a lot of them. He likes them with an oxycontin chaser."

Flashback: Rush Limbaugh busted trying to smuggle a bag of Viagra into the Dominican Republic - a notorious sex tourism spot.

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